HR leaders are asking big questions about workforce planning. Can data provide insight into more strategic and prescriptive workforce planning? The answer is yes.

The speed at which technology changes has made workforce planning an occasionally tenuous process. But as companies navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, workforce planning isn’t just a priority for HR leaders—it’s a top priority. And data analytics can help inform the best workforce planning decisions for your company now—and for later—to create an agile future workforce.

When I started exploring this topic, the world was in a very different place. But even in our current climate, people analytics can provide key answers to three top-of-mind workforce planning questions. In fact, it’s even more imperative now to find the answers.

These questions and their data points might bring up more questions, but how else to find the answers?

What percentage of my current workforce is in jobs that are going to be obsolete in the next five to 10 years? 

As technology continues to change the way we work, it’s believed that stagnation or downsizing are indicators of job obsoletion. This is a worry for both employees and companies. Analytics can help talent teams better understand which jobs may be at risk in the future.

Three key data points to consider and measure: 

  • How many employees currently work in lines of business that have received less than $100,000 in R&D funding within the last year? 
  • How many employee layoffs have occurred due to the downsizing of a capability within the last three years? 
  • How many employees have left the company due to lack of either career growth or new learning opportunities within the last year? 

How does my company identify what lines of business would be the best group to reskill? 

Reskilling or new-skilling is a strategic imperative for financial services (FS) organizations. Though the numbers have changed since 2018, at that point, only 27 percent of insurers and banks had redesigned jobs to accommodate augmentation and automation. I can’t reiterate enough the need for positive and deliberate response to disruption by designing the jobs, skills and tasks of the future.

Regular review of the right data can help you identify your reskilling needs.

Three key data points to consider and measure (by line of business): 

  • What is the percentage of innovation projects? 
  • What percentage of employees have taken trainings pertaining to organizational innovation areas? 
  • What percentage of employees have taken on stretch assignments in the last two years? 

How ready is my workforce to pivot to new offerings and sources of revenue? 

Employees who have demonstrated career transitions and flexibility tend to indicate a workforce’s ability to pivot to new offerings and technologiesFS organizations should walk their financial advisor talk and take stock of their assets. In this case, your biggest assets are your employees and their level of agility 

Three key data points to consider and measure: 

  • What percentage of employees have taken on a stretch assignment in the last year? 
  • Not including promotions, what percentage of employees have taken on a new role in the last year? 
  • What percentage of employees are currently working on agile projects? 

There’s a possibility that your workforce isn’t quite ready or as agile as you’d like it to be—and the current climate has that many companies don’t (yet) have the digital maturity to best enable the pivot. But assessing your data for workforce planning is a positive step in the right direction.

My next post will explore amplifying people analytics to answer top questions around diversity in the workplace. Until then, contact me here or connect with my colleague Colin Strasburg to find out more on how people analytics can aid your workforce planning efforts. Resources to support your workforce throughout COVID-19 can also be found here.

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